Arguably the greatest-ever Women’s Ashes series concluded in Taunton on Wednesday morning, leaving cricket fans in awe. In recent Ashes contests, Australia has dominated long-time rivals England, but this time the tables turned as England forced an 8-8 scoreline in the multi-format series. While Australia retained the Ashes, they did not win them, and they also lost their first ODI series in a decade. Here are the five key takeaways from this enthralling four-week contest.
1. Ellyse Perry: The GOAT? Ellyse Perry, who embarked on her record fifth Ashes tour, showcased her exceptional skills in the series-opening Test match. The 32-year-old came agonizingly close to scoring her third Ashes hundred but fell short by a single run. She followed this up with two fifties and a match-winning 91 in Southampton, helping Australia retain the Ashes on foreign soil. Perry also excelled with the ball, consistently taking wickets throughout the series. She made history by becoming the first Australian cricketer, male or female, to achieve 6000 runs and 300 wickets at the international level. Undoubtedly, Perry has solidified her status as the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) in women’s cricket.
2. Sophie Ecclestone: Unmatched X-factor Sophie Ecclestone stood out as a remarkable player in the last month of cricket. The 24-year-old left-arm orthodox bowler displayed an X-factor that sets her apart from any other female cricketer in the world currently. With her flight and drift, Ecclestone deceived Australian batters and took crucial wickets when England needed them the most. She didn’t go a single innings without collecting at least one wicket. Ecclestone’s bowling skills are unparalleled, and she also displayed glimpses of her batting prowess. Her fielding was exceptional, providing excitement and creating opportunities for the team. Ecclestone’s infectious personality makes her a potential future captain for an Ashes side.
3. England’s Deserved Achievement: Despite the 8-8 scoreline, there is a strong argument that England should hold their heads high as the deserving winners. Their 89-run loss in the Test match set them back due to the scoring system, which heavily favored Test match victories. However, in the limited-overs format, England rattled a strong Australian lineup. While some matches were closely contested, Australia’s two narrow wins in the limited-overs matches showcased England’s progress. England’s young bowlers, such as Lauren Bell, Charlie Dean, Sarah Glenn, and Sophie Ecclestone, will surely challenge Australia’s aging batting line-up in the future.
4. Ashleigh Gardner: The Underrated All-Rounder Among the brilliance of Ellyse Perry and Annabel Sutherland, Ashleigh Gardner has gone somewhat unnoticed. She consistently took wickets throughout the series, with a record-breaking haul of 12 wickets in the Ashes opener. Gardner’s bowling skills were complemented by her ability to deliver powerful scores above 30, providing stability to Australia’s middle order. At just 26 years old, Gardner has a promising future ahead of her. Her outstanding test match performance showcased her endurance and stamina, while her batting under pressure left a lasting impression. With her humble demeanor and skillset, Gardner will undoubtedly play a crucial role in Australia’s continued Ashes success.
5. England’s Impact on Women’s Cricket: Women’s cricket thrived in England this summer, with record-breaking attendance at The Kia Oval for the Second T20 match. The atmosphere at English cricket grounds, along with the music and chants after every boundary, showcased the passion for the sport. Australia can learn from England’s efforts in promoting and growing the game. Although it may be uncommon for Australians to admire English contributions to cricket, England is leading the way in creating a new era of women’s cricket that is captivating audiences worldwide. Despite not reclaiming the urn, England won the hearts, eyes, and imaginations of countless cricket fans.
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Hasibur Rahaman is a passionate sports journalist. He covers everything from cricket to field hockey, delivering up-to-the-minute updates and in-depth analysis of sporting events, both within India and on the international stage.